PRIME Minister Scott Morrison has highlighted the value of free trade during his visit to the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.
Mr Morrison said Vietnam was on a remarkable trajectory of growth with both short and medium-term growth prospects being positive, the result of 30-years of economic reform.
“In a time when dark clouds are on the horizon in terms of global trade, it is so good to see countries like Vietnam supporting and embracing trade liberalisation,” the Prime Minister said.
“We share a commitment to open trade and investment, and together stand to benefit from the TPP-11. I want to acknowledge the vital role of Vietnam to the TPP-11.
“When the US withdrew from the TPP, most thought the deal would simply fall over.
“It is a great testament to Viet Nam’s commitment to trade liberalisation that it stuck with the TPP even without the US – its biggest trading partner.”
Mr Morrison said the two nations were at “a sweet spot in our partnership”.
“Vietnam is rapidly industrialising and developing, and Australia is willing and able to support that growth,” he said.
He noted Australian companies doing business in Vietnam including SunRice, Linfox, – “they’ve opened a huge new warehouse in Bac Ninh” and the world’s largest aluminium hull shipbuilder, Austal, which is building high speed catamaran passenger ferries here for export around the world.
“You all exemplify Australia’s reputation for quality goods and services in Viet Nam,” the Prime Minister said.
“So while we may not be Vietnam’s biggest economic partner, we can be its highest quality economic partner – and that’s thanks to the work that you’re doing.”
Mr Morrison also talked about liquefied natural gas, with Vietnam to begin importing LNG in 2020, potentially benefiting Australian gas producers like Woodside.